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Mars rover sends back first 360-degree color view

    David Muliere, Senior Systems Engineer at Jet Propulsion Laboratory peeks at a 360-degree panorama in color of Gale Crater Vista, taken by NASA's Curiosity rover as it is projected at the Surface Mission Support Area, SMSA control room at NASA's JPL in Pasadena, Calif., early morning Thursday, Aug. 9, 2012. Scientists will be taking a closer look at several splotches in the foreground that appear gray. These areas show the effects of the descent stage's rocket engines blasting the ground.(AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
    In this image released by NASA on Wednesday, Aug. 8, 2012, a self portrait of NASA's Curiosity rover was taken by its Navigation cameras, located on the now-upright mast. The camera snapped pictures 360-degrees around the rover. (AP Photo/NASA)
    This panoramic view comprised of multiple images put together, provided by NASA on Wednesday, Aug. 8, 2012, shows the first 360-degree panoramic view from NASA's Curiosity rover, taken with the Navigation cameras. Mount Sharp is to the right, and the north Gale Crater rim can be seen at center. The rover's body is in the foreground, with the shadow of its head, or mast, poking up to the right. (AP Photo/NASA)

PASADENA, Calif. >> The Curiosity rover has returned another postcard from Mars — the first 360-degree color view from Gale Crater.

Since landing Sunday night, NASA’s six-wheel rover has been sending home a trickle of pictures, beginning with grainy, black-and-white photos. It also beamed back a low-quality video showing the last few minutes of its descent to the surface.

It recently raised its mast containing high-resolution and navigation cameras that have given scientists a better view of the landing site.

Curiosity is on a two-year mission to study whether Gale ever had conditions favorable for microbial life.

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